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Child Development Lab recognized for quality by NAEYC

November 15, 2021

The Child Development Lab at Heartland Community College (HCC) has again been recognized as one of the top centers for child care. 

The Child Development Lab (CDL), located on the main campus of Heartland Community College in Normal, offers child care services for children from six weeks to kindergarten age. This lab school serves a dual mission: to provide quality child care, and also to provide an opportunity for college students that need first-hand experience observing or working with young children.  

The CDL received a renewal of accreditation from the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC)—the world's largest organization working on behalf of young children. More than 6,000 programs are currently accredited by NAEYC. Less than 10 percent of all child care centers, preschools, and kindergartens nationally achieve this recognition.   

To earn NAEYC Accreditation, the HCC Child Development Lab went through an extensive self-study and quality-improvement process, followed by an on-site visit in August of 2021 by NAEYC Assessors to verify and ensure that the program met each of the ten program standards, and hundreds of corresponding individual criteria. The NAEYC announced notice of the award, which covers a five-year term, at the end of October, 2021. 

Heartland’s CDL is a true learning laboratory, serving the entire community. Specialists in the CDL collaborate with the college’s Early Childhood Education faculty to immerse themselves in continuous professional development and the use of best practices. They in turn model those practices and serve as mentors to students in local early childhood education programs as they gain practical experience in the field. In this respect, the CDL serves as a premier educator of the community’s future early childhood educators. 

“We’re proud to have earned this mark of quality from NAEYC, and to be recognized for our commitment to reaching the highest professional standards,” said Sarah Diel-Hunt, Heartland Community College Vice President of Enrollment and Student Services.

“Throughout the COVID pandemic, our CDL staff, led by Director Kadi Juris, have committed to offering a healthy and high-quality education environment. As all educators know this has been no small task. To receive this mark of distinction from a national leader in early childhood education is especially gratifying during this time. It speaks volumes about the quality of our teachers and staff at the CDL,” said Associate Vice President Amy Pawlik. 

In addition to the NAEYC Accreditation, the CDL was awarded Gold Circle of Quality rating by ExecleRate Illinois in March of 2021. 

Written by: Steve Fast